Why is it that everything can appear to be going so very well and then suddenly something happens which we did not expect? That is one reason why I always seek to exercise caution and take care over my reply when someone asks me how things are going. We can try to respond too quickly at times and then have regrets a few days later!
Paul and his colleague Silas were getting on just grand with their work in Philippi on the east coast of modern day Greece when as a consequence of their preaching and teaching everything changed.
They found themselves imprisoned in a Philippian jail so suddenly and so out of the blue.
Everything appeared to be going reasonably well. Why did this happen? What was behind these two being thrown into the high security cell of a Philippian jail?
Paul had cast a bad spirit out of a fortune telling slave girl who could now no longer make easy money for her pimps.
Her horoscope writing versatility vanished fast. Now, do remember that most magazines and newspapers today carry horoscopes and some would lose many of their readers if they did not print that material.
Touch some people’s pockets and they will rise up furious. Put your finger on a man’s involvement in financially prosperous sin, and anticipate a violent response.
Challenge the devil’s domain and expect to bleed. The consequences can be ugly.
These nuisances have got to be removed. This thing which has come to town has got to be stopped. Sin raised its ugly head in a new manner.
One abused girl is set free, and servants of Jesus Christ are arrested, stripped, beaten and flung into a high security cell with chains on their feet. It is almost unbelievable, but read the actual record of what took place in Acts Chapter 16 in the New Testament part of the Bible.
Similar persecution is occurring in many places in the world today and we hear very little about it. There are regular reports on the horrendous behaviour in various nations and you can receive all this information if only you ask.
From Lydia’s luxurious home they are transferred to this dark dank dungeon.
Surely it was not for this that God brought Paul and Silas over to Europe! And what was going through the mind of young Timothy, who was accompanying the team?
That midnight sees Paul and Silas praying and singing praises to God.
No pity party for these men; no criticising the authorities; no girning against the government; no ‘poor me’ syndrome; they were so positive and they knew that if they praised and worshipped something would happen and it certainly did.
Other prisoners hear these songs of praise. Never before has this happened in that jail.
People observe us, watch us, and listen to us when we think no-one is paying any attention.
Then God joined in and He got everyone’s attention. O, do take time to read the exciting and dramatic account and let it bless you richly.